Spring has officially arrived at my place. I fired up the grill for the first time this year and the menu was an ear of roasted sweet corn, roasted Yukon potato chunks, and a skewer of Kalbi marinated beef.
"The Humane Society of the United States is offering a $5,000 reward for information on who illegally killed three wolves in northern Minnesota, upping the ante in the ongoing investigation announced this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service."
That's in addition to $2500 already offered by the feds.
The Minnesota DNR has released an artist's sketch of the suspect:
For months I have patiently held to the opinion that when people finally had to make it count for real, Donald Trump's campaign would begin to deflate. Last week the good people of Iowa had me thinking that process had begun. Yesterday the Republicans and Independents of New Hampshire put the brakes on that in a big way. Sigh.
If I have to I will vote for Trump over Clinton or Sanders, easily, but I really don't want it to come down to that. I mean, this is one of the things he had to say last night as the results came in:
We are going to make our country so strong. We are going to start winning again. We don't win anymore as a country. We don't win on trade. We don't win with the military. We can't beat ISIS. We don't win with anything.
We are going to start winning again. And we're going to win so much, you are going to be so happy. We are going to make America so great again. Maybe greater than ever before.
What a load of crap. Politicians are noted for a lot of crap, of course, but this is worse than used car salesman level of crap. In my business career I have bought tens of millions of dollars of goods and services over thirty years, and I've had some real dirtbag salespeople sit across the desk from me. Everything about Trump, his language, his mannerisms, his bluster, all of it screams "dirtbag salesman" at me. I learned to trust that instinct a long time ago. The depressing problem is that Clinton and Sanders are even worse.
I will probably caucus for Ted Cruz on Super Tuesday. He's not my ideal candidate, and given the way the MSM hates him and is working overtime to denigrate him and raise his negatives, I'm not sure he can win. That MSM animosity is also a positive, however. Anybody who can so easily prompt Chris Mathews to go full frontal asshat on live television has something going for him in my book.
Most of the focus the last month has been on the problems with the Republican field, from Trump of course, to the size of the crowded field, to the grass roots-establishment rift. But Democrats have been having their own serious issues as well, even if they are not covered. Clinton's email issue is a far bigger problem than just classified emails stored on an unsecured server, as bad as that is. The very existence of the server was a giant slap at the notion of government accountability to the citizens and transparency through the Freedom of Information Act. The sole purpose of that server was to circumvent those principles and that by itself disqualifies Clinton from holding any office, let alone the Presidency.
The even larger problem for Democrats, however, is the looming Liberal-Progressive schism. Progressives have been on the rise in the Democratic Party for a long time, but I think we've reached the tipping point where they will dominate the party going forward. The problem for the party is that the two wings can only coexist as long as Liberalism dominates. That's because the Liberal wing has generally been willing and able to tolerate the Progressive wing, but the reverse will not be true. Progressivism at its core is collectivist and intolerant while Liberalism, though left-leaning, still revolves around individual rights and freedom. When Progressives take full control Liberals will have to choose between party or principles.
The time has come for several GOP candidates to drop out gracefully. It's time for Christie, Fiorina, and Carson to bow to reality and go home. Jeb Bush should do so as well, but he won't. Kasich has to play out the hand he drew yesterday, but it's not as good a hand as he wants to think. I predict he flops badly in the 9 southern/western states on Super Tuesday and he begins his informal campaign for VP shortly afterward.
I think Nicholas Kristoff is being mostly sincere in his attempt to bridge the gap between most gun owners and gun control advocates today in the NY Times, but he still falls far short, for reasons that start in the very first paragraph:
FOR those of us who argue in favor of gun safety laws, there are a few inconvenient facts.
The first inconvenient fact is the use of the term "gun safety," which gun owners immediately recognize as a euphemism for "gun control." Sure enough, Kristoff openly espouses the change in language a few paragraphs later:
Let’s also banish the term “gun control”: the better expression is “gun safety.”
No, it's not a better expression, it's a perversion of clear language and more proof of the dishonesty and ill-intent of the gun control crowd. "Gun safety" means the proper handling, maintenance, and storage of firearms. Keeping guns out of the hands of those ineligible to own them is not about gun safety, in all cases it's about gun control. I think Kristoff and other gun control advocates think they are being clever in resorting to euphemism, but it just makes them look like assholes to gun owners who are diligent in practicing real gun safety.
I give Kristoff credit for acknowledging some myths about assault rifles and open/concealed carry, but then he falls right back into "stuck on stupid" mode with universal background checks:
One of the puzzles of American politics is that most voters want gun regulation, but Congress resists. One poll found that 74 percent even of N.R.A. members favor universal background checks to acquire a gun.
It's not a puzzle at all to people who are paying attention, because it all depends on how "universal" is defined. If it is defined in the true sense of the word, one can't sell to or let a close family member borrow a gun without a background check. For most of us that's ridiculous, of course, and so support drops. For many, a background check for non-immediate family seems ridiculous too, so the "not so universal" reality grows. Then there are longtime friends and colleagues that would be required to undergo background checks, and so support drops some more. The truth is there has never been nearly as much support for "universal" backgrounds as gun control advocates claim.
And a note on the dishonesty of that 74 percent number Kristoff cited above. Politifact Wisconsin calls it "True," but notes the number comes from a 2013 Johns Hopkins poll of 2703 adults, of whom 169 self-identified as NRA members. I'm not even going to bother with finding out how the questions were worded, as claiming to know the attitudes of more than 4 million people based on such a ridiculously small sample of non-vetted respondents is essentially a lie.
And one more example of how dishonest gun control advocates often are, and why gun owners don't take them on their for anything. Anything.
At least Kristoff has the courage to bring up youth programs and outreach that might attempt to address the real problem with gun violence, which is mainly among poor and urban teens and young adults. That is progress of a sort.
So nice try, Nick, but overall your hackery and ignorance has done you in once more. Please try again, but next time, if you truly want to try to bridge the gap, talk to someone on the Second Amendment rights side who can tell you where you go off base. And then listen to them.
Here's the Secretary of Defense's statement on the release of the 10 US sailors by Iran this morning:
WASHINGTON, January 13, 2016 — Ten U.S. Navy sailors who were traveling from Kuwait to Bahrain yesterday when contact was lost with their pair of small craft are back in U.S. hands.
“I want to personally thank Secretary of State John Kerry for his diplomatic engagement with Iran to secure our sailors' swift return,” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement today. “Around the world, the U.S. Navy routinely provides assistance to foreign sailors in distress, and we appreciate the timely way in which this situation was resolved.”
A U.S. Naval Forces Central Command news release said the sailors departed Farsi Island shortly before 4 a.m. EST aboard the two riverine command boats they had been operating when they lost contact with the U.S. Navy. The sailors later were transferred ashore by U.S. Navy aircraft, the news release said, and other sailors took charge of boats and continued transiting toward Bahrain.
Well, I can tell you that what happened was that apparently, we had, from our military, one of the boats had engine failure and drifted into Iranian waters.
The Iranians picked up both boats as we have picked up Iranian boats where — that needed to be rescued and took them to — I’m not sure exactly where. I don’t want to misspeak here.
And realized they were there and distressed and said they were releasing and released them like ordinary nations would do. That is the way nations should do about it and that is why it’s important to have channels open.
A couple of things don't add up given the information we have so far.
First, according to the map in one BBC article, to wind up in Iranian waters while transiting from Kuwait to Bahrain the sailors would have to go what appears to be at least 50 miles offshore to the east. Why a small boat would wind up that far into the Persian Gulf to complete the stated mission seems rather bizarre to me.
Second, if one boat was disabled why didn't the other boat toss them a line and tow them away from Iranian waters? It doesn't seem plausible to me that that wasn't an option.
At a minimum there is more to this story that we haven't been told. The only question is whether our dullard news media will do their job or continue to be Obama's lapdogs.
As Knile Davis has just run back the opening kickoff all the way, here are my wild card week NFL playoff predictions:
#4 Houston vs #5 Kansas City
I'm not much of a fan of either team. KC has been hot lately and comes into the game with the #2 rushing offense in the AFC. But they also have the worst passing offense in the AFC. Meanwhile, Houston comes in with the AFC's #2 pass defense and #7 rushing defense. And Houston is at home. It could go either way, but I think Houston's defense overpowers the KC offense to advance.
#3 Cincinnatti vs #6 Pittsburgh
The only game I care about from a fantasy football standpoint this weekend.The Bengals #4 rushing offense against the Steelers #3 rushing defense. The Steelers #1 passing offense against the Bengals #10 passing defense. If Cincy QB AJ McCarren can keep his composure, I think the difference will be his #8 passing offense against the Steelers AFC worst passing defense. That and the absence of Deangelo Williams in the Steelers backfield gives the Bengals a chance to shake off that playoff curse and gain some confidence. I'm betting on the Bengals making it to the Super Bowl this year.
#3 Minnesota vs #6 Seattle
Everybody, I mean everybody is picking the Seahawks over the home team Vikings. Seattle leads the NFC in both pass and rush defense. The Vikings in the meantime, have the #3 rushing offense, but rank second to last in passing offense. Seattle's passing game is middling, even with the dangerous Doug Baldwin, but they do have the NFC's#2 rushing game. That was with Marshawn Lynch, however, who has been declared out for the game, and Thomas Rawls, who is done for the year. The Seahawks will rely on Christine Michael against the hard-hitting Vikings in the brutal cold at TCF Bank Stadium. This game will boil down to which team can hold onto the ball and move the sticks with the running game. It will be the legs of Michael/Wilson vs. Peterson/Bridgewater. I'm going with my home team in a surprise win.
#4 Washington vs #5 Green Bay
Washington brings the NFC's #6 passing offense while Green Bay comes in with the #4 passing defense. Beyond that the team stats are a sea of mediocrity. I give Green Bay the edge in this game based solely on the experience of Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers and their ability to take advantage of the vulnerable Washington defense.
For the record, at this point I see Cincinnati and Carolina meeting in the Super Bowl.
I hope you and yours had a great holiday season and are off to a great start in 2016. "Mine" enjoyed the holidays, me not as much. However, a lot of hard work over the last quarter of 2015 and some scrimping and saving have me starting 2016 with a replenished financial cushion and even some money to start working on my goals for 2016.
As I've alluded to, last year I started driving for a rideshare company to make some extra money. I'll leave the name unmentioned for now, though you'll probably be able to guess at some point. I'll post some more details later, but suffice to say that once I got past the initial learning curve without managing to get into an accident or receive a major ticket it has been a good thing for me.
I worked a lot of the holiday season and all of the employer and house parties meant lots of business. Unfortunately, when I took Christmas Eve off an unbelievable coincidence occurred.
Last year I was hit with a bout of the norovirus right after Christmas Eve dinner. This year I even joked about it as we had wine and snacks before dinner. Everything was fine. And then, exactly one year later, I once again couldn't finish my plate, let alone go for seconds. By the time desert came around a thin film of sweat covered my forehead and to my growing dismay I realized I was in for a repeat of the year before. The thing about the norovirus, and this year was apparently a new strain, once you have it you no longer have any control. It will run its course and you might as well stand in front of a train as fight it. It was gone almost as quickly as it started and by morning I was eating lightly and able to keep down water, but Xmas Eve was ruined again. Thankfully, like last year, at least I didn't pass it along to anyone else.
With that, er, behind me, 2016 is starting off on a good note. I am well-positioned(knock on wood) to achieve some personal and professional goals with some more hard work. I don't expect it to be much of a fun year necessarily, but I'm hopeful that it can be a very productive and satisfying one.
Here's hoping you have the 2016 that works for you.
Five protesters were shot late Monday night near the Black Lives Matter encampment at the Fourth Precinct police station in north Minneapolis, according to police.
Those who were shot sustained non-life-threatening injuries, said police spokesman John Elder in a statement.
Miski Noor, a media contact for Black Lives Matter, said “a group of white supremacists showed up at the protest, as they have done most nights.”
One of the three counterdemonstrators wore a mask, said Dana Jaehnert, who had been at the protest site since early evening.
When about a dozen protesters attempted to herd the group away from the area, Noor said, they “opened fire on about six protesters,” hitting five of them. Jaehnert said she heard four gunshots.
Since that story was written, Minneapolis police have arrested one 23-year-old male in connection with the shooting and will identify him when he is charged. What those charges will be is a guess at this point as there seems to be some contradictory evidence emerging.
The witness said a demonstrator came out of the crowd and punched one of the white men, and another man stepped back and reached toward his waistband.
“I was like, he’s got a gun, he’s got a gun,” said a second witness, who also covered his face on camera.
The demonstrators said the three men then walked away from the crowd and through a gate, where another protester punched one of the men, and the three men ran off with several protesters behind.
“I was like, they’ve got a gun — don’t follow them,” the second witness said. “Don’t chase them — they’re reaching for a gun.”
The witnesses said the men then stopped in an area where no cameras were present, turned around and opened fire on the six protesters who had been chasing them.
The confrontation begins at about the 2:50 mark in the video. Unfortunately, there is no audio to that version so it is impossible to know how the confrontation escalated and who was provoking whom.
It appears some chuckleheads decided to go looking for trouble and found it, though how this will play out in the legal system is not certain. Undoubtedly the suspects will plead self-defense if punches were being thrown and they were being pursued.
Emotions are running high and social media is alive with accusations of political and police indifference to the shooting and speculation on the motives of the shooters. And, of course, there is a lot of misinformation being spread that seems to me to be designed to inflame emotions even more.
There is a heavy far-left and anarchist presence among the black protesters. Many, perhaps most, are there out of genuine concern, but I'm certain that some are there to exploit the issue for their own gain. These are "you have to break some eggs to make an omelette" sort of revolutionary and they are perfectly happy to use the local black community as their shock troops. They are easy to spot, because for them it is not just about Jamar Clark, but that the whole system is corrupt and has to be taken down. Those people are not friends of the local black community.
As I wrote this post the story about the arrest has been updated to include a second arrest. Maybe that will deter other morons who may be thinking of a provoking a confrontation and emotions will have a chance to cool down. However, there's also a chance, just like in Ferguson, that the facts in both incidents do not support the narratives that have been established by protesters. Managing expectations if that comes to pass will be difficult.
...and he accepts a ride request from someone who goes by "pastor."
Turns out to be a request from some guy to pick up a young blonde woman who is at a seedy part of town and take her to a major hotel that is downtown.
Said young women then chooses to put on hair extensions as she is being driven downtown, to the point of asking the driver to pull over a couple of blocks before her destination so she can complete her task.
Did I mention her glitter nails? No, but there they were.
A police shooting in Minneapolis has resulted in protests and increased tensions on the north side. 24-year-old Jamar Clark was shot early Sunday morning after a confrontation with police and he died Monday. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension and the FBI are both investigating the shooting.
Some witnesses claim that Clark was executed by police after he had been subdued and cuffed, which the local police union vigorously disputes:
The head of the Minneapolis police union said Wednesday that Jamar Clark was disarming one of the officers and was not handcuffed at the time gunfire from an officer’s weapon fatally struck the 24-year-old man in the head.
Union President Lt. Bob Kroll repeated his earlier contentions that Clark was not wearing handcuffs, as some witnesses have alleged, during his confrontation early Sunday with officers on the street in north Minneapolis. Clark died the next day.
According to officials, there are video snippets of portions of the incident that they are examining, but they won't release them until the investigation is complete. I have my doubts that they will be able to maintain that position as the pressure mounts, especially if this story gets picked up nationally to any degree.
Clark, 24, of Minneapolis, was shot during what police described as a struggle on the street in the 1600 block of Plymouth Avenue N. about 12:45 a.m. Sunday. Police say Clark was involved in an assault of his girlfriend and that he was hindering emergency responders from tending to her before his altercation with officers began.
There are some similarities here to the Ferguson PD shooting of Mike Brown. Both incidents involved criminal activity on the part of the dead man just prior to a physical confrontation with police. This incident almost certainly also involves failure to comply with a police request/demand. There are, in my opinion in this case, dubious eyewitness accounts. And like Mike Brown, attempts are being made to airbrush his criminal history away.
Three days of protests are starting to get national media attention, and as the latest BS on our college campuses begins to tire out this appears to be primed to become the media's next big thing. On the other hand, this is Minnesota and it is November. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if the talking heads and racebaiters lack the enthusiasm to camp out up for a few months.
Over the years I've seen Minneapolis cops get physical with people on a number of occasions. Enough to confirm that only an idiot fights with the police. But I highly doubt that even the most aggressive cop on the force is going to execute a cuffed suspect in an open street. And that's probably all I will have to say until the video and/or the results of the investigation are released.
I've been working on a few things, but I got a letter a couple of weeks ago that has me once again learning all about a subject that I so want to devote enormous amounts of time and energy into: Health insurance.
Jealous? Oh c'mon, I know you too want to become a health insurance wonk, get the t-shirt and be recognized as you walk down the street. I haven't checked into it as of yet, but there might even be an app for that. So why am I getting into this?
I got a letter.
It was from Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota and it informed me that my personal health insurance monthly premium will go from $448/month to $680/month effective January of 2016.
Woohoo! Thank you, Barack Obama! Thank you, Keith Ellison! Thank you, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar! Thanks to your efforts, the personal health insurance market is completely fucked up! Woohoo!
Thanks to Obamacare, what was once an insurance market has been transformed into a cost sharing pool that is first hitting independent workers, but mark my words, will roll downhill to every worker in America eventually, first private employees and then public. There will be no escape for anyone.
So now I have to figure out if my no deductible, but dismal amount of coinsurance and up to $6800 annual out of pocket health policy is worth it. And if my refusal to take government welfare to pay for a policy is noble or just stupid. I'm not quite ready to surrender there, but my choice apparently may come down to doing so or go the civil disobedience route.
It's kind of funny, in a twisted way, that so far all of the MNSure plans I've looked at are effectively the same type of catastrophic health plan that were so hammered by Democrats just a few years ago as a ripoff. Just look at the deductibles that aren't even coinsurance. It's just all bullshit.
Providing a way to cover individuals facing catastrophic medical bills is a noble goal, but the way it has been done under the Unaffordable Care Act by Democrats has been a disaster for self-employed people to the point where it is not just a disgrace, but an abomination.
I don't know what I will do at this point, but what I do know is I'm pissed as hell at every last Democrat who supported the train wreck that is called Obamacare.
Believe it or not, this pretty little cove was the site of a massive log raft assembly operation from 1941 to 1971. Logs from the woods of the Minnesota Arrowhead were dropped into the water here and then towed by the thousands at a time to Ashland, Wi. to become paper pulp. Consolidated Papers donated the land to the state in 1985 and parts have been designated a Science and Natural Area. Much of the area has been restored through great efforts. It's a very interesting stop along MN 61, just a few miles south of Taconite Harbor. More info here.